From sunrise to sunset, Banff in July really does live up to its reputation as one of the best places to visit in the world.
The weather is beautiful, and the days are long and sunny with clear blue skies, so you can make the most of all the outdoor activities, such as hiking, exploring the pristine lakes, seeing the Rockies on horseback, taking a scenic gondola ride, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and a whole lot more.
You’ll have plenty to do in the evenings as well, as downtown Banff has a lively atmosphere with plenty of restaurant patios and outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the stunning views of the Canadian Rockies.
July is a perfect time to visit. But what is there to do, what should you pack, and what can you expect from the weather?
Here’s what to expect in Banff National Park during this summer month.
Written by Lou
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Weather in Banff in July
In July, the weather in Banff is absolutely gorgeous. It’s hot with lots of sunshine and cloudless, bright blue skies. It really is the perfect month for enjoying all those outdoor activities and seeing the park.
Temperature in Banff in July
The average daytime temperature, according to Parks Canada, is around 22°C (72°F), dropping to around 7°C (45°F) overnight.
So, you can comfortably explore the numerous trails, lakes, and scenic viewpoints.
As I’ve said on my other pages about the weather each month in Banff, these figures are just averages. It often gets hotter in July than 22°C, rising into the late 20s or even early 30s. But it’s not uncommon for it to feel a bit chilly at night once the sun goes down.
There can also be the occasional rain shower, especially at the beginning of July, so it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight waterproof jacket.
Humidity levels are relatively low, typically ranging from 40–60%. Wind speeds are generally light, but the UV index is high, so pack your sunscreen and lip balm as you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors.
July Sunrise and Sunset Times in Banff
In July, Banff has long sunny days, with sunrise typically around 5:30 am at the beginning of the month.
I highly recommend getting up early to see a beautiful sunrise over the mountains—it’s definitely worth it.
Meanwhile, sunset is usually around 10 pm, so you really have plenty of daylight hours to make the most of everything you want to do.
We like to sit at one of the outside restaurant or bar patio areas and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains as the sun sets. It’s the perfect end to the day.
Does it Snow in Banff in July?
While it’s not the typical image of summer, a dusting of snow can happen at higher elevations in the park in July.
The good news is that downtown Banff and the hiking trails are snow-free in the summer months of July and August.
How Much Does It Rain in Banff in July?
Banff National Park sees an average rainfall of around 5.1 cm (51mm) spread out over the month.
However, even if it does rain, you don’t need to worry about finding things to do, as there are plenty of museums, galleries, and cafes to check out during a passing shower.
So come rain or shine, you’ll have plenty to do.
How Busy is Banff in July?
Banff is just like any other tourist destination in July, and that’s busy.
Everyone wants to visit Banff when the weather is fantastic. So this makes it the busiest month of the year.
However, the impact of July being the busiest month, along with August, is seen in the surge in visitor numbers.
In July 2023, Banff had just under 720,000 visitors, a significant increase compared to June, which saw a little under 400,000 visitors.
Given that July in Banff is extremely busy, I cannot stress how important it is to plan and book accommodations, activities, and tours as far in advance as possible to ensure availability.
Hotels in Banff are often fully booked, and rates are expensive during the high season. So don’t leave booking your hotel until the last minute, as rates will be even higher. I suggest booking at least 8 months ahead at a minimum.
How Busy is Lake Louise in July?
In July, Lake Louise experiences the same busyness as Banff, as everyone wants to see this world-famous lake.
This surge in tourism impacts parking availability, so it’s recommended that you take the Parks Canada Shuttle or Roam Public Transit for a more convenient and sustainable way to access the area without worrying about finding a parking spot.
If you want to avoid the crowds and try your luck at getting a parking spot, it’s best to arrive at Lake Louise early in the morning (before 7am) or later in the evening.
Paid parking is in effect from 7am – 7pm from May to October.
While Lake Louise is extremely busy in July, planning and alternative transportation options will help you make the most of your experience and enjoy this iconic Canadian destination.
Weather in Lake Louise in July
In July, Lake Louise can see slightly lower average temperatures, ranging from 20.4°C (69°F) during the day to 3.6°C (38.5°F) at night.
As with Banff, you can expect mostly sunny days with occasional rain showers (6.1cm), so nothing that’s really going to damper your trip.
As July is peak tourist season with high visitor traffic, it’s also wise to plan your Lake Louise activities and accommodations well in advance.
Festivals and Events in Banff in July
A lot is going on in July in Banff in terms of activities. There’s also free admission to the park and its historic sites on Canada Day.
Below is just a taste of what you can expect during your visit in July:
Canada Day in Banff
Oh Canada! Canada Day in Banff is a lively and festive celebration on July 1 to celebrate Canada’s birthday.
The town puts on a range of live music performances, various family-friendly activities and games, a Canada Day parade, and events that highlight the diverse traditions and customs of the First Nations.
At the end of the day, there is usually a pyrotechnic display that doesn’t disturb the wildlife with noise. This is instead of a traditional fireworks display.
Things to Do in Banff in July
Summer in Banff means there are endless activities to do and places to explore. Here are some popular options:
Endless Hiking Trails
Banff National Park has over 1600 km (1000 miles) of hiking trails that are easily accessible now that the snow has melted away. July and August are the perfect months to hit the trails and see Banff National Park at its most beautiful.
For something a bit more cardio-intensive, you could hike Sunshine Meadows or tackle the more challenging Mount Assiniboine.
Horseback Riding through the Rockies
Why not explore the Rockies on horseback? There are plenty of options, such as a 1-hour horseback ride along the Bow River, passing the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course, and then crossing the river. Or, if you’re an experienced rider, you might like the 4-hour horseback ride instead.
Whichever one you choose, you’ll see some stunning views of Banff National Park.
Visit Stunning Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is a must-visit destination in Banff National Park. Its turquoise waters and surrounding mountains make it one of the most photographed lakes in Canada. In July, the lake is free of ice and accessible for hiking.
However, the road is now permanently closed to private vehicles, so if you want to see this stunning lake, you’ll need to take the Roam Transit bus or book a private tour.
Lake Minnewanka Boat Tour
Lake Minnewanka is a beautiful lake in Banff National Park, where you can take a boat tour to learn about the history and wildlife of the area.
The boat tour offers the most stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and you might spot some of Banff’s local wildlife, such as bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and even a bear.
Take a ride on the Banff Gondola for the most amazing panoramic views of Banff National Park.
The gondola takes you up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, where you get some pretty breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies.
You could hike up Sulphur Mountain, wander along the boardwalk for the views at the summit, have a meal in the restaurant, and then take the gondola back down.
Explore Yoho National Park
Located just west of Banff National Park, Yoho National Park also offers stunning landscapes and outdoor activities.
Visit Emerald Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies, and take a stroll around the lakeside.
You can also explore Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls, or check out the natural rock bridge known as Natural Bridge.
Drive the Icefields Parkway
Considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway is a must-do activity when visiting Banff in July.
This highway stretches 232 km (144 miles) from Lake Louise to Jasper National Park.
Along the way, you’ll have views of glaciers, mountains, and turquoise lakes. Speaking of lakes, stop at Bow Lake and Peyto Lake for some stunning photos.
Banff Farmers Market
Every Wednesday throughout the summer, you can browse and purchase locally grown produce, artisanal products, and handmade crafts at the Banff Farmers Market. Support local businesses and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Fly Over the Rockies
A helicopter tour is a great way to experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies from above.
As you fly overhead, you’ll take in the stunning views of the mountains and turquoise-colored lakes below.
This is undoubtedly one of the more unique and unforgettable experiences you can have in Banff in the summertime.
Relax at Banff Upper Hot Springs
After a day of exploring, soak and soothe those tired feet while unwinding and relaxing at Banff Upper Hot Springs.
These natural hot springs are the perfect place to soak in warm, mineral-rich water while surrounded by beautiful mountain views.
It’s a great way to relax and just take in the beauty of the park, and it’s only $17.50 per person.
Banff Avenue Shopping
Banff Avenue is the main street in Banff town, and it’s a great place where you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to keep you entertained. Don’t miss The Spirit of Christmas store, Banff’s year-round Christmas store.
Banff National Park has various wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, and grizzly and black bears.
Keep your eyes peeled while exploring the park for a chance to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Heading out early in the morning or late in the evening increases your chances of spotting wildlife. Alternatively, book a wildlife tour, where the guide will take you to the best spots for wildlife viewing.
Sunshine Meadows Gondola
A ride on the Banff Sunshine Gondola and Standish Chair to Sunshine Meadows is another way to see the beauty of Banff National Park.
You can also hike to all three alpine lakes if you want. You’ll find the hike through the meadows particularly beautiful, as the wildflowers are in full bloom in July.
The Golden Skybridge is located in Golden, British Columbia, around a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Banff.
The skybridge has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It spans two suspension bridges and is one of the highest in Canada at 130 meters (426 feet) high.
If you aren’t afraid of heights, then stroll across and take in the breathtaking scenery. Viator
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you might be better off buying the Adventure Pass, which gives you access to the Railrider Mountain Coaster, Sky Zipline, Canyon Edge Challenge Course, axe throwing, and a climbing wall.
What to Pack for Banff in July
When packing for Banff in July, it’s important to remember that the weather can vary throughout the day. Here are some essential items to bring:
Layers: Dressing in layers is a good idea as temperatures can range from cool mornings to very warm afternoons. Bring lightweight sweaters or jackets that you can easily remove if it gets too hot.
Hiking gear: If you plan to hike the trails in Banff National Park, pack sturdy hiking boots, comfortable clothing, and a backpack with essentials like water, snacks, and sunscreen.
Rain gear: a waterproof jacket just in case you’re caught in an unexpected rain shower.
Sun Protection: The sun can be strong in Banff, so don’t forget to pack a cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Insect Repellent: Mosquitoes are a real pain in the backside in the summer months, especially near bodies of water. Pack some insect repellent and keep them away.
Swimwear: If you plan on visiting the hot springs or taking a dip in one of the many lakes in Banff, don’t forget to pack your swimwear.
Comfortable and Casual Clothing: Banff has a laid-back atmosphere, so pack comfortable and casual clothing for exploring the town’s restaurants and bars.
Where to Stay in Banff in July
There are plenty of hotel options in Banff to choose from, ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly accommodations. Below are a few of our personal recommendations based on our stays.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4
The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a top choice for a luxury stay. This grand hotel has elegant rooms, a renowned spa, a championship golf course, and exceptional dining options.
There’s an outdoor pool with great mountain views and, I think, a fantastic place to stargaze. It also has a huge indoor pool.
It isn’t cheap to stay here in high season; one night will set you back anywhere from $2,000+ a night!
Check prices on Booking.com
Check prices on Expedia.
Banff Inn Hotel
501 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A9
For more moderate pricing, Banff Inn is just a few minutes walk from the downtown area, so it’s in a great location.
I found our room at the Banff Inn to be clean and comfortable. There’s a large jacuzzi whirlpool you can relax in at the end of the day. The hotel also has underground parking.
Check prices on Booking.com
Check prices on Expedia.
Elk + Avenue Hotel
333 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B1
The other hotel I recommend staying in is the Elk + Avenue. This hotel is close to all the shops, restaurants, and attractions. It offers cozy and clean rooms with modern amenities, a jacuzzi, and a dry sauna.
There’s also underground parking available at an additional cost. The Elk + Avenue Hotel is a great choice if you want to be even closer to the restaurants and shops.
Check prices on Booking.com
Check prices on Expedia.
Other Things to Consider
Wildfires and Smoke
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires, leading to prolonged periods of thick smoke in this part of Alberta.
This is something to keep in mind when planning a visit to Banff National Park during the summer months.
Not only can it impact the enjoyment of your vacation, but it can also be uncomfortable to breathe in and pose health risks, especially for individuals with respiratory conditions.
It Gets Busy
July is the busiest month in Banff, as it is peak tourist season. The town, popular attractions, and hiking trails can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
But don’t let that put you off, as there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Banff while avoiding the crowds, such as visiting popular spots early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s less crowded, or exploring the lesser-known trails and attractions that may be less frequented.
Reserve your accommodation and guided tours in advance so you get the options you want.
You’ll Need a Park Pass
You must have a pass to visit Banff National Park. This pass grants you access to the park and helps support conservation efforts.
You can purchase a daily or annual Discovery Pass at the park entrance gates or online in advance.
You’ll Need Bear Spray
Now, I know what you’re thinking—bear spray? Really? But trust me, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Banff is home to a healthy population of bears, and if you’re planning on hiking or camping in the park, it’s essential to come prepared.
Bear spray is a highly effective deterrent that can help protect you and the bears. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with using bear spray properly before your trip. It’s also important to keep it easily accessible, such as on your belt or in the side pocket of your backpack.
Bear spray can be purchased or rented at outdoor stores in Banff and Canmore. Or, if you’re driving through Calgary, pick one up at a Canadian Tire store.
Is Banff worth visiting in July?
Absolutely! Banff is an incredible destination to visit in July. As I said above, the weather is lovely, with warm temperatures and longer days that let you make the most of your visit.
In July, you can explore iconic spots like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Lake Minnewanka. These lakes are stunning with their turquoise waters and picturesque mountain backdrops.
If you’re a hiker, you’ll love the number of trails in Banff National Park. One popular option is Johnston Canyon, known for its stunning waterfalls and unique rock formations.
Another reason to visit Banff in July is the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat, and, let’s face it, everyone wants to see a bear when they visit Banff National Park.
Yes, it will be busy, but Banff is definitely worth visiting in July. The beautiful weather, outdoor activities, and stunning scenery make it the perfect place for your vacation.